“A Jewish Marriage Is Between A Man And A Woman” was the title of the “The Weekly Squeeze” podcast episode heard around the world last month that together with a private voice note never intended for public consumption touched off a worldwide firestorm on the internet.
I am a Jewish mother of four, a pro-Israel advocate, social media influencer and fellow member of our community, as well as the creator and host of a Jewish podcast called “The Weekly Squeeze” that I record twice a week from my home studio in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
In my studio I take in social media content, world affairs, and news relating to my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters online and off, and then exercise my freedom of speech to talk about what I understand the Torah to mean and say on various issues.
My podcast is listed under the category of “Religion and Spirituality” along with hundreds of thousands of podcasts that include sermons in Arabic, bible lectures on Christianity and a collection of religious ideology that is available for anyone to listen to or not listen to.
It is within this arena that I have recorded hundreds of hours of podcast episodes that made my show the success it is today. Doing this, I can work from home, earn a living using my creativity and do what I love most: engage with my community and talk about Israel and the Torah.
One night, before I recorded an episode that has since become “infamous”, I was scrolling through Twitter, replying to anti-Israel haters left and right, like a game of whack-a-mole that never ends, when a video of two women caught my eye. It was described as a “wedding.”
They say ignorance is bliss and in that second, as the realization of what I was seeing sank in, I felt every word.
We as Torah, God fearing Jews practice discipline and carefully maintain boundaries every second of our lives because unlike animals we have free choice. We have free choice to ignore boundaries, lower our standards, to rationalize the unthinkable, to wander without direction, to sniff and taste all the flavors of the world that the Torah says is bad for the Jew.
No one is denying us or has the right to deny us the freedom of practicing these choices as it is self-understood that only God Above knows what is in a person’s heart. How lucky would we be if we could only live in a society where everyone looks into each other’s eyes without judgment.
And that is why when I saw the videos, I posted them on Instagram without comment and let my audience tell me and the world what they felt and saw in those clips. Only then, armed with the confidence that enough people felt the same way I did, and after speaking to my parents, I sat in my studio and shared my thoughts on my podcast with a heavy heart.
While I was recording, unbeknownst to me, a young woman with a troubled background that I had been kindly and casually chatting with over the course of a year or so, screen recorded a voice note I had sent her hours earlier when she lashed out at me for posting the wedding videos.
Her fury caught me off guard, and I replied with great force — unfortunately resorting to using the same profane language this individual used on her social media platform day in and day out. Even social media influencers can be influenced.
And then, this woman – to whom I had only ever been kind and supportive — decided that my reputation, our virtual friendship, and her own self-respect was worth destroying for a little attention on her social media platform.
The message of the podcast episode was very clear to all those who listened with an open heart and mind.
A Jewish marriage is between a man and a woman and with God, Who is a full partner in the creation of our children.
That is why we make sure His presence permeates every room in our homes, including and most importantly in our bedrooms.
A Jewish wedding celebrates the purity and sanctity of the Jewish marriage that has been a principal foundation of the Jewish community since Adam and Chava. The Lubavitcher Rebbe would bless every new couple that they should “build an everlasting edifice….” and stress the importance of the foundation of the home.
Observant Jews, who call themselves Orthodox, avoid chaos in our relationship with God. We pride ourselves for the effort it takes to live as a God-fearing Jew who observes Torah and its commandments. This is how God instructs us to live so we can become closer to Him and walk in His ways.
A wedding with two brides is not something I ever thought I’d see in my lifetime but here we are.
My 16-year-old now knows as much about sins as she does about the commandments. The chaos has accomplished the desensitization it set out to. Successful Exposure therapy essentially.
And that is why I was saddened and dismayed by all the social media influencers who used their platforms to signal to their followers that the Torah is just a means to reach free love in a world where there are no rules.
I was saddened and dismayed that I became the target of a vicious campaign to destroy my career, cancel my podcast and social media accounts.
I have spoken about a lot of things in my career and never have I been on the receiving end of such demented and depraved messages like I received from the “frum LBGTQ” community.
In a collective effort they flagged my tweet for “hate” and succeeded in convincing Twitter to permanently suspend my account when I tweeted about what I was experiencing.
It’s not my responsibility to tell people what to do. My only responsibility is to speak up for my own, and to speak up when struggles become a weapon that is used to emotionally blackmail a community to accept the unacceptable, to normalize the impossible and to celebrate the breakdown of our Torah values in public.
A deliberate rejection of the Torah should be deliberately rejected by the Orthodox community swiftly and unanimously.
We are a nation of priests, a sacred people, children of the Holy God of Israel. We must love the sinner and hate the sin. We can embrace the sinner and reject the sin.
Hashem holds us in His embrace no matter what we choose. But He rejects sin because he loves us. May we all merit to raise children who can live, speak and practice their Torah faith freely, with true pride for Who and what they represent.